Aviation

Revealed: the fastest way to board a plane

We all know that the worst part of going on holiday is waiting to get on the plane. Don’t deny it.

Then, once you get on, there is always, always a blockage of some sort on the plane. Like someone trying to fit a weeks worth of luggage into a overhead compartment, or someone sitting in the wrong seat and having to try and backtrack down the plane.

1489022175225

We’ve been there. And it has to stop.

Most airlines load passengers on rear rows first, in blocks depending on their seating – which makes trying to board a plane probably the most time consuming it can possibly be.

And yes, it’s annoying. But it’s also costly for the airlines. According to the ABC, passenger boarding delays cost serious dollars.

For example, an idling plane can cost the airline upwards of $40 (and all the way up to $337) a minute, with delays costing almost $40 billion each year – and that’s just in the US.

Luckily, one astrophysicist has been running it over in his mind.

Dr Jason Steffen developed a boarding method almost a decade ago, but airports and airlines have yet to materialise the idea.

To find the quickest way to board a plane, Steffen made a model of a plane and compared boarding rear rows first and front rows first in a simulation, assuming that front rows first would be the slowest. But both boarding methods had almost identical times.

In 2012, Steffen conducted an experimental test with television producer Jon Hotchkiss, where the pair recruited people to board a mock Boeing 757 with 12 rows of six seats and an aside down the centre.

Steffen’s method was compared to boarding in blocks from the rear, random seating and “Wilma” seating – window seats, followed by middle seats, then aisle seats last.

Block boarding (the method currently used) was the slowest, taking almost seven minutes. And Steffen’s method was the fastest, taking just over three and a half minutes.

Steffen’s genius method goes like this:

  • If a plane has 20 rows of seats, with three either side of the window, 20A will board first
  • Then 18A, 16A, 14A and so forth
  • Then boarding shifts to the other side of the plane: 20F, 18F and so on
  • Next, the odd row window seats board in the same way
  • Repeat for middle seats and aisle seats

And that’s it!

However, while some airlines have taken up boarding from both the front and rear doors, none have picked up Steffen’s method since it was published in 2008.

“We’ve had some low-level interest, but nothing’s materialised yet,” he said.

And as for the future of boarding planes? Steffen thinks airlines should still allocate seats, but give up their current boarding method.

“My advice to airlines would be: aeroplane’s open, everyone jump aboard,” he said.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

One response to “Revealed: the fastest way to board a plane”

  1. Southwest more or less boards this way and has about the fastest turns of any major airline.

    I’m sitting now waiting to board in group 4 on a United flight and SWA probably would have turned two flights in the amount of time I’ve been sitting here.

Leave a Reply

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: RCL’s big restructure, Celebrity Cruises’ historic all-female team + MORE!

There are three things that matter most on a Friday: Flavour of the Week, industry gossip and a few bottles of rosé. Two of those come standard, but we suggest drinking the other while reading this.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aussie and Kiwi couple tie the knot on Jetstar flight

An Australian man and a Kiwi woman have made a very unique compromise for their wedding location, tying the knot on a plane in between the two countries.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

“Come live our cataustrophy”: The Chaser boys roast Tourism Australia campaign with hilarious parody ad

by Christian Fleetwood

Primetime piss-takers The Chaser have been at it again, this time taking aim at Tourism Australia’s controversial ‘Philausophy’ campaign.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

“The ultimate aquadisiac”: Dream Cruises unveils saucy new entertainment

Yes, the word ‘aquadisiac’ was used and it just about made our whole week. Find out what all the fuss is about here.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travellers Choice CEO says Tempo/Bentours collapse “the one blight” in a great year

by Christian Fleetwood

Christian Hunter has revealed just how much Travellers Choice and its customers were impacted by the tragic collapse of Tempo Holidays and Bentours.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Airbnb inks massive Olympic deal

Did you happen to catch members of the hotel industry kicking cans down the street and muttering curse words to themselves? Find out why here.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent Wrap: Travellers Choice award winners, agents cruise Croatia, MTA conference speaker + MORE!

Congrats, folks – you made it to Friday! As a reward, here’s an extra-long Agent Wrap for you to peruse before knock-off drinks.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Businessman caught attempting aircraft pilot con

Ever watched ‘Catch Me If You Can’ with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks? Well, this story has all the hallmarks of the Hollywood flick.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

ONE WEEK TO GO: Last tickets for The Travel Awards!

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly’s editor is still tossing up whether to wear fur or feathers to the industry’s night of nights.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

How a Swedish holiday island cut its emissions by 78 per cent

With small changes in energy production, heating, fuel and food, this island became carbon-neutral in less than 12 months – without skimping on the experience it offers visitors.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Industry bodies slam Sydney’s Star Casino Ritz-Carlton rejection

The Independent Planning Commission has rejected plans for a $530 million six-star hotel, and these industry players are not impressed.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

STUDY: World’s riskiest destinations top most Aussie travellers’ wish lists

Australians are prepared to accept the risk and bypass Smartraveller ratings, according to this alarming new research.

Share

CommentComments